Skip to main content

tv   Dateline NBC  NBC  March 18, 2011 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT

10:00 pm
been put in touch with none other than michael, an old friend of peter, the target of the hit. and michael, wout pressing the stranger for any details, had passed them along to his contact in the d.a.'s office. >> did you have any idea after that phone call that he was talking about susie and pete? >> no, no idea at all. >> michael now represents peter in his still pending drunk driving case. he's pleading not guilty. peter himself did not want to give an on-camera interview. he's looking to the future, friends say, rather than dwelling on the past. >> he's trying to rededicate himself to his business, his children. he met a great girl. he's already engaged and he just wants to move on. >> as for susie, despite what she tried to do to him, friends say peter recognizes she would always be the mother of his
10:01 pm
children. >> the best that anybody could want for her is she gets it help she needs so she can come to some extent a mother to her four kids. >> after more than three years of bitter fighting, peter and susan williams finally received a divorce settlement. peter got the house in garden city, a house that susan fought so desperately to keep for herself. in our second hour tonight, the story of a mother and daughter who had helped each other get through some tough times. but when the daughter died, her mother knew the only way left to help her was to make sure the killer faced justice. here's josh mankiewicz. in some families, the birth of a child can change everything. >> i wouldn't have cared if we have a boy or a girl. but it was going to be nice to have a little boy. >> dayna herroz was over the moon when her first grandchild
10:02 pm
was born, dean robert springstube came in to this world on september 26, 2005 weighing seven pounds, stretching out to 20 1/2 inches. >> he was beautiful. i was madly in love with him. >> her husband, roy, felt the same way. >> you were charmed. >> i was absolutely charmed. yes. >> the baby's mother, dayna's daughter, tori, was just 21 and not ready for the challenges of parenthood. as baby dean grew from a newborn to a happy infant with a sweet smile, tori grew as well. >> he was something that we didn't know we were missing until we came. and he was one big fat ball of love. and he opened up my daughter -- it's like you could see her heart go huge. it was a beautiful sight to see watching her become a mom. i think every mom should be able
10:03 pm
to see that with her child. >> all of that joy turned to horror on the evening of july 26, 2006. >> my sister -- i don't know what happened to her. and i just -- >> okay, take a deep breath. take a deep breath so i can understand. >> we tell a lot of sad stories here on dateline. while this one isn't easy to tell, it might make you think about the relationship you have with your kids or your parents. what happened here in san diego turned a happy mother and grandmother in to a fighter who now wants it world to know what happened to her family because, she says, there are lessons here. they're about life, about trust, and they're about the choices we make. and what she's learned might be a gift to someone else's family. before we go anywhere, i want to ask you something -- are you sure you want to do this? >> yes. >> yes.
10:04 pm
>> this isn't important. >> but i think it's important. i think it's important to do. tori could have been any girl. >> but, of course, she wasn't any girl. she was dayna's. >> tori was the perfect daughter for me. she wasn't perfect. but she was perfect for me. and from the minute she was born, we were two peas in a pod. she was perfectly flawed, i believe. >> most mothers probably would argue that their daughters don't have any flaws. perfect? >> no, she had flaws. >> dayna says tori would get so focused on a goal she ignored signs of problems along the way. stubborn, and it doesn't seem like she made the best choices in men? >> no, there's a flaw there. >> daniel moen remembers how tori always seemed to fall for the wrong guy. >> what kind of guys was she
10:05 pm
going out with? >> they weren't stable guys? >> bad boys? >> kind of, yeah. >> guys not nice to her? >> not nice to her and probably not nice in general. >> maybe that shouldn't be a surprise given that our relationships as adults often reflect the ones that we witness as children. tori was barely 2 when her father left and cut all ties with her and dayna. and the step dad, roy, filled his shoes later on, and certainly loved her. tori spent years dealing with her mother's issues. >> i'll say this from the jump -- i'm a recovering alcoholic. and up until she was 16, her life was fairly normal. and then i crashed. i think i've always been an alcoholic. but it came to a head at this point. >> although you were drinking, you were functioning. >> i was functioning. but i could no longer function. >> then what? >> then i couldn't stop.
10:06 pm
i woke up and i had a drink. and i take my daughter to school. >> drunk? >> yeah. yeah. >> as many children of alcoholics do, tori helped her mother cover up the drinking, hiding bottles, denying there's a problem. for a while, that worked. but at 16, tori felt she couldn't take it anymore. >> tori said i love you, but i hate you when you drink. and i will not watch you destroy your life. and i found a place for you to interview for a recovery home. and you get one shot. and if you fail at this, i'm not coming back. i need my mom back. >> that had to feel good knowing whatever mistakes you made, you raised the daughter with that kind of backbone. >> i was very proud of her. >> so dana went off to rehab for nearly a year. roy moved away to deal with the family's collapse in his own way. and tori, still in high school,
10:07 pm
lived with friends, worked as a waitress. when dayna emerged 9 1/2 months later dry and sober, it was tori's turn to be proud. >> i wanted her to see that you could stand back up when you fall. and you could get your life together. put our marriage back together. put our family back together. >> over the next few years, tori and dayna became closer than ever. then one day, tori came home with some news of her own. >> chef cashe came to the housee said i need to talk to you. she kept hemming and hawing and i said spit it out and tell me and we'll deal with whatever it is. and she said, i'm pregnant. >> it should have been the beginning of a happy new chatter in the lives of both mother and daughter. but sometimes, as we told you earlier, the birth of a child can change everything. >> and so can a phone call.
10:08 pm
>> he said, haven't the police contacted you? and i said, why would the police be calling me? >> when "complicated" continues. we all have a bloodline. but it takes a bold spirit to say, "it's my turn"... then go out and prove it. the new 2011 jeep compass. genetically engineered with jeep 4x4 capability, iconic beauty, and a red-blooded attitude all its own. the 2011 jeep compass.
10:09 pm
the evolution of a legendary bloodline. well-qualified lessees can get a 2011 jeep compass sport 4x2 for $239 a month. chicken, chicken chicken. there are thousands of ways to prepare it. [ chickens clucking ] you know only two of them. time to mix it up. time for new philly cooking creme. it'll take your chicken to places it's never been before. somewhere creamier, dreamier, with lots of flavor. look at you all chef-like. spread the love around in four fabulous flavors. spoon in a little new philly cooking creme. you've been stuck in the garage, while my sneezing and my itchy eyes took refuge from the dust in here and the pollen outside. but with 24-hour zyrtec®, i get prescription strength relief from my worst allergy symptoms. it's the brand allergists recommend most. ♪
10:10 pm
lily and i are back on the road again. where we belong. with zyrtec®, i can love the air®.
10:11 pm
when she became pregnant, tori was living with her boyfriend, neal springstube, also under the same roof, tori's best friend, daniel moen. when tori brought baby dean home, these three 20-something roommates shared the parenting. >> they took different shifts. one worked one shift. someone else worked another. daniel was always carrying him in the baby pouch where normally the mom is carrying the baby in the baby pouch, no, daniel would be doing that. >> you were take within the baby from the very beginning. >> yeah, my little buddy, my
10:12 pm
little friend. most of the times, he was my best friend. >> really? >> i watched him every day while everyone was at work. made doctor's appointments. went to the store. he was my right-hand man at that time. >> dana was amazed and amused by the three-way child care that tori had figured out. >> the three were comical and dean was filled with love. >> but by the summer of 2006, when baby dean was 10 months old, tori and neal had broken up. daniel moved home with his mom. though he continued to help out daily with dean's care. mother and baby were living in low-income housing in a rough part of san diego. but even so, grandma dayna thought life was good. >> the last time you saw them, you were -- >> she had gotten into a bikini. she was very proud of that. >> she lost the baby weight? >> yeah. >> and daniel was in the pool with -- with dean and roy was in
10:13 pm
the pool with dean. and dean had learned how to splash. he realized it was his hand that was making the water splash. and he would just roar with laughter and thought it was just the funniest thing. and i said, isn't our life perfect? we've come full circle? doesn't it sound like music from heaven where he laugh? >> that was what day? >> that was sunday. >> sunday? >> the 23rd of july. >> three days later, on a wednesday night, dayna was struck by a news story about a mother and her baby. >> that night i saw the news that i think they said a mother that was 27 and a child that was 8 months had been murdered. >> one of the roommates came to the complex just before 9:00. >> i said a prayer for the family. thought that is horrible. went to bed, thought nothing more of it. >> but the next day, dayna got a
10:14 pm
call from tori's work place. she hasn't shown up. she called day care. baby dean wasn't there. so she called daniel moen who was with tori and dean nearly every day. and daniel in an almost matter of a fact way told dayna the worst news she had ever heard. >> he said haven't the police contacted you? and i said, why would the police be calling me? and he said, the mother and child on the news l.a. night was tori and dean. >> it was too terrible to hear. >> i was engulfed in heat and i know when i went back to the phone, the line was dead. >> dayna called police to find out more. they confirmed the news that both her daughter and grandson were dead. they held back the details because it was a gruesome crime. but soon enough, dayna would hear it on the news -- tori had been beaten.
10:15 pm
both she and 10-month-old baby dean had been strangled. dean was still in his crib. >> call the sergeant. he said, please tell me this isn't true? he said, i can't tell you that. and then the nightmare began. >> by the time dayna had learned what had happened to her baby grandson and her daughter, police had already gone through the apartment, dusting for prints, searching for dna. looking for anything that might explain this double murder. >> first of all, what could you tell from the crime scene? >> just that it appeared to be in line with assault. >> lieutenant kevin rooney supervises the san diego police homicide unit. >> there was no forced entry in the apartment but not uncommon for tori and the two roommates to leave the door unlocked. >> sexual assault, robbery? what did you think? >> she was clad with a bra but
10:16 pm
there were tears to her clothing. so at the beginning, yeah, we were open to the possibility that maybe it was an intruder who attempted to rape her. >> if it's a rape that went wrong, why kill a 10-month-old child not able to testify. >> exactly. a 10-month-old boy that doesn't speak. >> right away, the cops started to bring in tori's friends. >> you didn't kill her, did you? >> i talked to her wednesday night. >> tori's best friend, daniel, the one who had taken such good care of baby dean, was also brought downtown. >> typical interrogation. little tiny room. >> yeah, little tiny room, light on me. talking. >> what were the police asking? >> they asked me where i was. >> did they take your fingerprints? >> yes. >> confiscate your cell phone? >> yes. >> do you feel like a suspect? >> i didn't feel like a suspect the first night, no. >> that change? >> that changed, bigtime. coming up, tori's complicated love life. where, exactly, did daniel fit
10:17 pm
in? >> he seemed to be the one on the outside looking in. he described them as best friends. but he wanted more. >> could that be a motive for murder? when dateline continues. the one time of year red lobster creates so many irresistible ways to treat yourself to lobster. like our new lobster-and-shrimp trio with a parmesan lobster bake, our decadent lobster lover's dream with both sweet maine and buttery rock lobster tails and eleven more choices, each served with a salad and unlimited cheddar bay biscuits. come celebrate lobsterfest right now at red lobster. you know what this is, cartwright? yes. nicorette mini. you carry them around everywhere. yes, i do carry them everywhere. because cravings are everywhere. no matter where crime takes me, nicorette mini's there, ready to take a craving for me like a real partner. ♪ would you take a craving for me, cartwright? what? how would i take a --
10:18 pm
exactly. isn't it weird to eat your partner? don't over think the metaphor, cartwright. [ male announcer ] nicorette mini goes wherever you go, to help make quitting suck less. only yoplait original has twice the calcium of the leading yogurt. that's 50% of the daily value to help close the calcium gap, we're giving away a million free cups at yoplait dot com. we're giving away a million free cups honey, i'm mortified because my mom is dressed just like me. i'm desperately trying to cling to my youth. i find that deeply disturbing so i'm going the steaming makesmy all the veggiessweet really crisp.n. hey, these don't cost a lot which is great for you since you spend all your money on botox. an honest to goodness dinner from healthy choice.
10:19 pm
[ female announcer ] little acts like using less material can make a meaningful impact. ♪ because everybody wins when you use less. switch to future friendly products from p&g, like new concentrated tide powder detergent. with 24% less packaging and more stain-fighting power. future friendly from p&g.
10:20 pm
>> tori and dean were gone. san diego detectives were piecing together tori's life. her mother, dayna, was planning a double final farewell. >> how do you have a funeral for your only child and her brand
10:21 pm
new baby? >> in a daze, in a daze. >> did you think about drinking again? >> never. >> seems like that would be a time when you would think about it. >> i would never dishonor her that way. i made mistakes when she was growing up with my drinking. i wasn't going to make them in death. >> but dayna was aching. she bought 43 books on grieving, hoping in vain that one would yield a clue to living through the brutal murder of a daughter and grandson. she also looked for answers from the san diego police but didn't find them there either. they told her they were working the case, but nothing more, which is typical police procedure. >> frustrating? >> extremely. >> and that made you angry? >> i was angry from probably week two. i felt that they were sweeping tori and dean under the carpet. >> so this grieving mother and grandmother decided she had to do something, maybe what she did
10:22 pm
was a form of therapy? or maybe it was just that she needed to scream something at someone at the top of her lungs. >> we're not going away. we're just getting bigger and we're getting louder. >> she organized candlelight vigils. she worked with groups like crime stoppers and put out playing cards with tori and dean's photos, cards who said please call if you know anything. and in frustration, dayna held a press conference right in front of the headquarters of the san diego police. >> nobody deserves to die this way. and certainly not an infant who could not get away. he couldn't speak. he was a baby. >> all along, she kept calling lieutenant kevin rooney for details. and he wasn't giving up anything. >> we're investigating a murder. many detail on progress that won't reveal. dayna was very angry.
10:23 pm
>> would you understand that? >> she was upfront about that. >> making progress, but progress in a real homicide rarely happens as it does in a tv crime drama. it has to be issued for cell phone records and computer hard drives. all of that would take weeks, if not months to come in. but police did learn quickly about tori is that she didn't seem to have any enemies. she did, however, lead a very complicated life. tori was juggling not just work and mother hood, but three men for the boyfriend do. the pal, daniel moen and old boyfriend, dennis potts. the detectives establishes that neal was gone at the time of the murders. so that left two. >> give me a brief capsule of each one of them. >> dennis potts knew tori since high school. they atented since high school. they have what's described as a not exclusive relationship.
10:24 pm
for whatever reason, they were constantly drawn back to one another and have a sexual relationship that existed over the years since high school. >> daniel moen never qualified as a boyfriend. maybe he was too nice. or just too shy? >> daniel knew her for a long time. had an earlier job together. he described them as best friends. he wanted more. i believe he loved her and he wanted a romantic relationship with her. >> and you knew that it sometimes made daniel if not angry, at least unhappy. >> it seemed as though of the three people, the three men in her life, he seemed to be the one on the outside looking in. >> in the weeks before tori was killed, things were beginning to change between tori and daniel. she seemed open to the possibility of making their relationship more than just friends. but she wasn't sold on it. >> she was wasn't as sold on it
10:25 pm
you were. >> dno. >> did that bother you? >> no. not really. >> i don't believe you. >> i knew she talked to dennis. i knew how she was before so i accepted her how she was. >> daniel had spent years being forgiving of tori's weaknesses. despite that loyalty, dayna told detectives something didn't seem right to her about daniel, specifically, how he knew so much so soon about the murders. >> you had to, during that time, sort of flash back to how much more daniel was to tori than tori was with daniel. >> the way he knew they were dead and the way he told me they were dead. that kind of scared me is what i told police. >> and in turn, police made sure daniel knew he was in their sights. >> the cops are after you. >> yes. >> frighting. >> after they told me i was the main suspect, yeah, a little
10:26 pm
frightening. >> they said you were the main suspect? >> i thought i was the only suspect at that time. >> with the pressure on, daniel told the cops he didn't do it and he wanted to find out who did. he shared with them the unusual text messages he received from tori a little before 7:00 p.m. that night. it was soon after he got back to work from a break. it was also around the time police believed tori and dean were killed. >> that's when i left my phone with him that night. because i said i got a lot of texts before some scary guy. i don't know if they had anything to do with it. >> some scary guy standing by my car looking to my place read one. daniel told the police that was odd, because tori didn't think of her shared apartment as her place. and he also told detectives about another text he thought was even stranger. >> dean was sleeping like a dead dog. >> she said that dean was sleeping like a dead dog? >> yeah. >> is that the way she talk? >> no, not at all.
10:27 pm
>> in an age demographic, emotions as complex and different as love and hate, desire and friendship, tori's texted words to daniel are full of mystery. >> she texts you at one point, i love you. i want to be with you. then she said, her plans with dennis fell through. why don't you come over. >> that's funny because i never knew they were going to meet. >> tori told daniel she was going to see her mom, dayna that evening. but in reality, she was going out to dinner with dennis potts, her old flame from high school, the third man in her life. coming up -- a lover caught in a lie. >> makes you very suspicious. >> absolutely. >> will it lead to a killer? when "complicated" continues. ofe
10:28 pm
line of duty... .. we're live with the details.. at 11. plus.. is the u.s. prepared in the event of an east coast tsunami? and the very latest in libya.. after president obama threatens military action... we're following breaking news out of baltimore city tonight yep, you can get a great deal on every volkswagen, including the 2011 jetta. awesome. plus it's an iihs top safety pick. even better. but they're going fast. so, i guess this is where you tell me i got to hurry or it's gone right? yep. going going gone. get it? it's funny. [ male announcer ] the volkswagen going going gone event. hurry in, and for a limited time
10:29 pm
while they last, get a 2011 jetta for $179 a month. visit today.
10:30 pm
get a 2011 jetta for $179 a month. especially with the two growing boys. they just eat and eat and eat. when i go shopping, i look for the specials. i'm looking for the real deals. i know they're going to save me money and that's something i appreciate. save more with giant's frozen food event. spend $100 in frozen foods through march 24th and get a $25 coupon good on your next order. just use your card and save on practically the whole aisle. i'm saving money at the register, and that reallworks for me. more savings every time you shop with your giant card.
10:31 pm
the police investigation of the double murder of a mother and her child had focused on two men -- tori's best friend, daniel moen, and her old boyfriend, dennis potts. tori had met dennis in high school in bonita, california, a well-off enclave southeast of san diego known for the golf course and horse trails. they'd gone out a few months their senior year, even though they didn't run in the same circles. dennis' father was a corporate executive, his mother, a realtor. tori's father wasn't around, and her mom was in rehab. but they went to high school there at the same time.
10:32 pm
>> it was a richy rich school, in my opinion. i was among the middle class, i guess. somewhere from middle to wealthy high school. >> in that rarified world, dennis potts stood at the top. in high school, that means money, new cars, prestige. tori didn't have any of those. >> tori saw the idea of somebody who was popular in school, the idea of somebody who had it well off. and maybe that's what attracted her to dennis? >> while their dating relationship didn't last, their sexual relationship did -- on again, off again. it survived both high school and several other relationships. >> how did tori describe her relationship with dennis potts? >> pretty much just i guess friends with benefits. >> they would sort of hook up -- this is back in high school. >> and then afterwards. >> high school, yeah. and all the way through what i knew her for. >> he was always sort of there in the background.
10:33 pm
>> he was apparently in the background when tori was living with neal. in fact, once a paternity test showed that tori's then boyfriend neal springstube wasn't the father, tori told her mother, it must be dennis. >> the results came back that dennis wasn't the father. >> did that make sense to you? >> no. >> tori asked dennis for another test. the results were the same. dennis was not the father. >> she calls me at work. she's hysterical. she says dennis wants neal to take another test because he thinks he falsified it. i said, tori, neal wanted nothing more than to be dean's father. he wouldn't falsify a paternity test. there's something wrong with dennis. >> dayna urged tori to go to court and have the judge order a paternity test. but tori was reluctant. >> she didn't want to hurt anyone else.
10:34 pm
she said, i didn't want to hurt neal. i chose to have dean. and i don't have the right to ruin anyone else's life, i already ruined neal's. >> your answer was, there's somebody else who's responsible here. >> roy stepped up and said, this isn't about you. this is about dean. >> so tori agreed, she'd ask dennis potts with a third test. >> perhaps on the news, i had no idea that the child was murdered too. >> yeah. >> that was just a big -- big shocker. >> police were also talking to dennis. two days after the murders, dennis potts came downtown to have a conversation in that same small room in which daniel moen spent so much time. >> where was he that night? >> he said he spent time frame, that would include the time of the murder between 5:00 in the afternoon and 8:00 in the evening at a friend's house, a
10:35 pm
fellow by the name of max corn. >> you checked with max corn? >> he backed that up? >> he vouched for him. >> end of story? >> no, far from it. >> cops know there aren't that many reasons why he was killed. it boils down to one of three things, love, pride, money. to police, unrequited love looked like a possibility for daniel moen, but maybe love or money figured into the motive for dennis potts. >> tori called me. you're the father. it shouldn't happen like this. >> how old was dean at that point? >> oh, jeez, four, five months? >> what did dennis potts tell you about his paternity and the whole issue of child support? >> he claimed he only had sex with her one time during the period that she probably would have conceived the child. he used a condom during that encounter. denied being the dad. saying he was supportive of tori's efforts to find out who
10:36 pm
the father was. >> two tests. i swabbed myself, swabbed the baby. one she swabbed me and the baby. i opened envelopes in front of her. and i sealed them up in front of her and came back, you're not the dad. >> did you buy that? >> just to be on the safe side, we asked for the dna sample that we could use for comparison. >> the dna sample. >> yeah. i was expecting a nurse. >> if i compare this to dean, if i just -- what are you going to tell me? what are you going to tell me? >> the same thing. >> if it does, i'll be sincerely surprised. >> dayna had been suspicious of dennis potts because she believed dennis somehow manipulated the paternity tests. in her frustration, and hearing nothing from lieutenant rooney or the investigators, she went to tv station kfmb and gave them
10:37 pm
a tip, one that would become big news as soon as it ran on tv. check out a guy named dennis potts. >> yeah. is dennis in? >> no, he isn't. >> you put dennis' name out there? >> yes, i did. >> with that information, a producer from kfmb went to the home where dennis went with his parents. >> where was he the night of the murder? >> he was right there. >> did he have a date with her that night? >> and the police come to see you? >> yeah. >> you're thinking, what? he's going to give you a big thank you. what did you get instead? >> very angry. >> and you were not happy? >> no, not at all. he said, i can't have these details out there. and if it means that i don't tell you another thing until this thing is resolved one way or another, that's what i do. the obligation is to your daughter and your son. >> did she say that? >> i think she did. >> they hasn't solved the case, but rooney's crime lab did solve one issue. dayna had been right.
10:38 pm
the test ordered by the police of the courts would come out differently. dennis potts' dna proved he was the father of baby dean, and his dna didn't match the dna sample that had been sent to the mail order paternity testing company. the crime lab said that dna sample came from someone else. >> it was his friend, max corn, who vouched for him being in his house during the time frame that we believe tori was murdered. >> that will make you very suspicious. >> absolutely. >> and police had another lead -- text to tori the day she was murdered. >> it seems so out of left field to see if she's alone at the apartment. >> when "dateline" continues. [ cellphone vibrates ]
10:39 pm
hey, baby, what's going on? [ woman ] happy anniversary! are we still on for tonight? yeah, of course. of course. [ laughs ] you remembered to make a reservation, right? yeah, i remembered that. the number-one thing a man should remember.
10:40 pm
i'm gonna be there soon. i'm gonna come pick you up. and i'll, uh -- i'll -- i'll -- i'll call you -- i'll call you when i'm on the way. i'm -- i'm on the way. okay. okay. [ male announcer ] in the network, your iphone can talk and surf at the same time. a real clean isn't just something you see... it's something you smell. new lysol no mess automatic toilet bowl cleaner not only cleans your toilet with every flush, but also freshens your entire bathroom. so even in between deep cleans, it's as fresh as any room in your home. for tips on a healthy home, visit missionforhealth. so delicious. my peppers and broccoli... they really make the dish. cream is really what makes it. i think you'll find it's the vegetables. the crunch... the texture. deliciously rich. delicious. fantastic! flavorful. [ cow moos ] hey, maybe we could... work together?
10:41 pm
[ female announcer ] introducing new stouffer's farmers' harvest. now classics like grilled chicken fettuccini alfredo come with sides of farm-picked vegetables... lightly sauteed with herbs and olive oil. and no preservatives. find more ways to get to the table at those of us who know grass doesn't turn green just because the calendar says to. and that a big difference can grow from a small budget. for those of us with grass on our sneakers... dirt on our jeans... and a lawn that's as healthy as our savings... the days are about to get a whole lot greener. ♪ more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. we're lowering the cost of flexing our green thumbs. this mulch is just $4.97.
10:42 pm
holidays and birthdays came and went. dayna herroz spent time with her daughter and grandson at the cemetery. >> hi my angel babies. >> she wasn't close to being able to move on. >> i'm sorry. i didn't protect you. >> but police had moved on. daniel moen was no longer a suspect. investigators are now focused on dennis potts. the prime suspect continued to live at home with his parents and a fiancee, and to spend much of his time with the man who was his alibi with the murders, max
10:43 pm
corn. they even got matching tattoos. kevin rooney and his team kept working the case. when the cell phone records finally came in, they were able to see how tori's last day had taken shape. >> what did you learn about what tori's plans were for that evening? >> she and dennis had made reservations at gorges at the cove. a nice restaurant in la hoya. she had arranged a babysitter that she was going to drop dean off to. there was a call and text messaging. some of which they were going to recover. >> she and tori never did see each other that night and never intended to. >> so, you guys didn't have any plans per se? >> no, nothing set in stone. >> absolutely not. >> their texts told a different story. a little before noon on the day she died, tori texted dennis,
10:44 pm
okay, i'll see you at 5:00. are you bringing my surprise? what is it? his response isn't known. but the texting continues. at 1:47, she wrote -- can i be casual in jeans? at 4:32 she wrote? you still coming? he wrote right back -- duh, i'll be there at 5:15. you home alone? >> she seemed g eed giddy. she was excited about going out the dinner. he said he had a present for her. it was in the car. of course, asked, are you alone. in retrospect, it seems so out of left field and inappropriate to care whether she's alone at her apartment. >> the homicide team also learned a little bit more about where dennis was -- again, from his cell phone records. >> dennis said that nobody else had his phone. nobody else used his phone. and he was with max corn from 5:00 to 8:00 at night.
10:45 pm
>> was he add max corn's house? oh. >> no, his cell moved around between 5:00 and 8:00. a number of calls that were made that did not use a cell site in bonita where max corn's home was. and the last call that was made used a cell tower in nassau city very close to the apartment. >> he had a phone and his phone pinged off of a tower near tori's apartment, then police say he couldn't have been at max corn's all night. so police applied pressure to max. >> all rig
10:46 pm
>> denise gunter remembers how they watched each others backs and for not taking high school life too seriously. >> max and dennis, i would say, overall, there was not a lot of accountability. it was kind of deo what you lik and we'll deal with the consequences later. >> it was at dennis' parents' house that police found the break they needed. >> we ended up serving a search warrant on her home to recover some items, the computer, and other things. >> when they dug into dennis' hard drive, they found internet searches he had done, searches had told them what dennis potts was thinking and when. on june 24, dennis asks the internet for help on this topic -- "committing murder,"
10:47 pm
june 26, one month to the day before the murders, dennis searches court-ordered paternity test procedure. later that same day, he asks for information on how to cheat a swab paternity test. two days later, dennis wants to know the best way to kill someone. two days after that, he's asking about getting away with murder. july 7, dennis looks up information on getting out of child support. july 19, performing choke hold. and later, how to kill someone. july 25, at 4:16 in the afternoon, dennis searches cyberspace again -- his topics -- knocking someone unconscious and knocking someone in the head. the next day is july 26, 2006 -- tori and dean were murdered. coming up -- an arrest, a trial, and a dramatic order from a judge.
10:48 pm
>> he left the bench. came back. you could tell he had been crying. >> will tori and dean finally get justice? and coming up sunday on "dateline," "royal invitation." it's coming, just weeks now till the wedding of the year. but first, the revealing look back at the wedding that topped them all -- the day diana became a princess. >> she did say to me, there's a lot of fuss for one girl. >> delicious new interviews, delicious new details. >> we wanted drama. >> and the typical american family who was par of it all. >> a year ago she was our babysitter. >> we pull back the veil on babysitter. >> we pull back the veil on the wedding of the century.r is!
10:49 pm
you gotta come see what's new. c'mon! tadaaa! welcome to haircolor heaven. aa-ah-ahhh! courtesy of new nice 'n easy colorblend foam. permanent, dimensional color, now in a delightful foam! just three shakes, foam it, love it! simply saturate hair root to tip, front to back. with tones and highlights. it's foamtastic! home haircolor, make room for foam haircolor! new nice 'n easy colorblend foam. your right color.
10:50 pm
♪ trident vitality. with inspired ingredients, like white tea, vitamin c and ginseng. ♪
10:51 pm
sundays are just for watching football. believe that? [ thinking ] remain calm. answering incorrectly has... but i just -- [ thinking ] ...consequences. but you're smart, right? you ordered off mcdonald's dollar menu at breakfast. got the premium roast coffee, the savory sausage burrito. everything's so good and just a buck each. you made it happen, so... you got this. he's a jerk. [ thinking ] well-played. mcdonald's dollar menu at breakfast. the simple joy of being smart.
10:52 pm
january 16, 2008, 18 months after tori and baby dean were murdered, a very long investigation paid off. dennis potts and max corn were arrested, dennis charged with the murders, max charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice. it would be another 18 months until dennis potts went to trial. his attorney, kerry armstrong says his client is guilty only of not being ready to be a dad. >> now he admits that he faked those deaths. >> he does. he admitted that to me near the
10:53 pm
beginning of the case. and actually as you well know by now testified to that during the trial. >> on the stand, dennis told the jury he thought baby dean looked like him, and said he suspected that if he didn't do something, he was going to have to deal with the obvious. >> i don't want to use the term "buying some time" but i wanted to figure out what to do here, as far as raising a child or making child support payments. >> dennis tried to explain away the on-line searches saying he feels interested in esoteric topics like mixed martial arts which involved knocking someone unconscious. he thought he would like to write a paper on murder so he typed in, "how to kill someone, committing murder and gelling away with it." the problem was that dennis wasn't in school at the time. and hasn't signed up for any sort of writing class. on the stand, dennis also denied
10:54 pm
being a double murderer. >> i never thought about killing tori or dean in any sense. there's not a thought that comes to anyone's head. not a sane person. >> what's wrong with the theory that dennis potts wouldn't want to be responsible for this child because it would embarrass him in front of his family and girlfriend and it wasn't his plan. he didn't want to spend the money. he did everything he could to fake the paternity tests. now it looked like tori was going to agitate for a test that was going to be bulletproof, she pushed him too far and he killed her. >> never disputed that was a strong possibility by the prosecution, there was a stronger reasonable suspicion that someone else committed the murder, that was daniel moen. >> kerry armstrong argued a trial that daniel moen had more motive, she was in love with tori but she had rejected him despite he helped her out with baby dean, he came over every
10:55 pm
day to take him to day care and use his money to buy baby supplies. all of that is true -- even the love, and maybe even the rejection. at the trial, the defense said that he did it. >> i was -- >> very hard to hear? >> very hard to hear. >> but daniel had an alibi that unlike the one given by dennis potts didn't rely on the word of a close friend. here's daniel on the store security camera at work the night of the murders. and his cell phone pinged on the tower near where he worked. daniel was never charged. in the end, it was clear he wasn't guilty of killing both a woman and a baby he loved. >> we the jury in the above entitled cause find the defendant dennis michael potts guilty of the murder -- >> a jury believed all of the guilt rested with dennis potts. >> dennis potts' family has
10:56 pm
plenty of money. any child support tori was asking for wouldn't break them. better to commit murder than just pay the money? >> maybe he was too smart for his own good? maybe he thought it feels going to work? maybe he wasn't attached to be to tori and a son for the next 18 years. he had a girl en route to be his fiancee. it was a nice thing to do on the side. but it got more complicated. >> there might have been more to dennis' plan. remember the strange texts daniel received the day of the murders. police think that's dennis who already killed tori and dean using tori's phone to lure daniel to the scene. what would have happened if daniel had shown up? that's something only dennis knows. >> there's question that they lied. >> in a separate trial,
10:57 pm
10:58 pm
10:59 pm


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on